The House of Grana Padano

Meg Pokrass and Jeff Friedman

In The House of Grana Padano, each shimmering micro story hovers between standup comedy and the unfolding of tragedy, between the mask and the mirror:  A salesman tries on a suit and gets lost inside it; an ex-wife moves into a house made of Grana Padano cheese while her former husband nibbles the corners; and a father folds his daughter so tightly into his chest that her childhood disappears. Two modern masters of the fabulist micro, Pokrass and Friedman stretch language like magicians who are deep into their most amazing acts, creating elusive personas who can mime love, hate, anger or sorrow. The characters in these stories are searching for a moment to grasp, a future in all the dissolution around them, a family to love or curse. This improvisational collaboration between two critically acclaimed authors takes microfiction into a playful surreal universe that is wildly humorous and deeply truthful.

“Here in House of Grana Padano are deft and absorbing micro-tales, surreal, yet sparked with characters achingly universal in their quest for attainment: a man causes things he touches to disappear, a woman finds herself replaced by a moose, a captured crow has way too much to say, a woman lives in a house made of cheese…  Here is an annealing of two major talents, and this is their illuminated manuscript of fabulistic tales with gold and lapis lazuli on every page, and yes, too, the grit and poetry of life.” Robert Scotellaro, author of What Are the Chances? and Bad Motel

“In the entrancing story “Searching for the Bearded Dragon” Danielle and the narrator frantically hunt for Sam, their bearded pet dragon who has gone missing.  What to do?  Then Danielle says, “Let’s just do what we normally do…  It’ll be okay.”  I imagine that is how this brilliant collaboration that resulted in House of Grana Padano worked its magic.  Jeff Friedman’s wild and engaging images, the stuff of elegant and fabulist prose poetry, and Meg’s Pokrass’s dazzling and unique use of disjunction in line after line, story after story, merge here as these two virtuoso writers “just do what they normally do.”  But here they do it together.” Pamela Painter, author of Fabrications

“Jeff Friedman and Meg Pokrass prove that collaborations, in the hands of masters of short prose, can be revelatory. Like two seasoned jazz musicians, their imaginations play off each other, so that their tales–the astonishing and often quirky worlds and characters they create–avoid the randomness found in so many failed surrealistic prose poems and microfictions. You never know what’s coming next, but, somehow, it all makes sense.” Peter Johnson, author of Old Man Howling at the Moon

JEFF FRIEDMAN is the author of eight previous collections of poems, prose poems, and micros including The Marksman, Floating Tales and Pretenders. Friedman’s work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Cast-Iron Aeroplanes That Can Actually Fly: Commentaries from 80 American Poets on their Prose Poetry, 101 Jewish Poets of the Third Millennium, Flash Fiction Funny, Flash Nonfiction Funny, Fiction International, and The New Republic, and Best Microfiction 2021 and 2022. He has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment Literature Translation Fellowship in 2016 and two individual Artist Grants from New Hampshire Arts Council.

MEG POKRASS is the award-winning author of 8 flash fiction collections and 2 flash novellas, including Spinning to Mars (Blue Light Book Award, 2021) and The Loss Detector (Bamboo Dart Press, 2020). Her work has appeared in over 900 literary journals has been anthologized in 3 Norton anthologies: Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015), New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (W.W. Norton, 2018), and Flash Fiction America (W. W. Norton & Co., 2023). She is the Series Co-Editor of Best Microfiction and Founding Editor of New Flash Fiction Review. Meg lives in Inverness Scotland. Find out more here: